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Mining in Potosi

  • Date Submitted: 12/03/2012 05:09 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 73.8 
  • Words: 800
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“The Mine that Eats Men”

The movie, “The Devil’s Miner”, tells the story of two boys who work in the mines in Potosi, Bolivia. These two brothers, Basilio and Bernardino Vargas, are fourteen and twelve years old. They have been working in the mines since they were ten years old. These young boys tell a story of their lives and what it is like working in the mines. Their story gives people a deeper look into what it is really like to live and work in the Potosi mines. This movie gave me a personal point of view of what I was reading in all the books about Potosi.
In the Kendall Brown and Peter Bakewell’s books we read in class we learned about mining in Potosi during colonial times. We learned a lot about how the mines in Potosi work and how the people who mined in this area lived. One thing we read about was the Tio. With the arrival of the Spaniards, came Christianity. With Christianity came the belief of God and the Devil. The origin of the Tio was made up by the Spanish mine owners. We got a better understanding of the Tio in “The Devil’s Miner”. Basilio tells his younger brother, Bernardino, the story that was passed down throughout history. He said when the workers in Potosi did not want to work in the mines anymore they grouped together and said they were going to leave. The Spaniards, knowing that the miners were very religious, built a statue out with horns and a tail and said if the workers did not work, the God would kill them. This tradition continues in the mines of Potosi to this day.  
In the film, we get to see and learn first hand about how the miners make offerings to the Tio, so that they are spared from being killed. The boys say that they worship God above the ground, but down in the mines they have to pray to the Devil. They make offerings such as caca leaves, cigarettes and alcohol. They even make larger sacrifices to the Tio when they are not getting good production out of the mines. We saw a lama being sacrificed to the Tio. The...

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